Scott L. Malcomson, writing in Sunday’s New York Times, declares that Barack Obama, the Democratic Senate nominee from Illinois, “is not black in the usual way.” To bolster his argument, he cited an article in the New Republic by Noam Scheiber, who voiced the opinion that Obama is “not stereotypically African-American.”
How is one black “in the usual way”? What does it mean to be “stereotypically African-American”?
…. not black in the usual way? Now, I’m not an African American woman – – but, rest assured, if I were – – I’d be sayin – “What the hell??” What is typical, usual and stereotypically African-American? How is one ‘black in the usual way’ ? Because he is intelligent, well-spoken, articulate and accomplished?? Because he is attracting positive media attention, rather than negative press? Because he’s not on your 11 O’clock news, featured in the latest drive-by?
Stereotypes persist, by in large, because the media propagates them into the minds of people.
Now, I’m no liberal and generally don’t go around defending them. Every once in awhile, however – some people just get underneath my skin. But then, I’m not republican in the ‘usual way’.
To me, Obama’s speech to the DNC rang some pretty conservative tones, if you ask me. In this article, the author does artfully sidestep and avoid the mentioning of the darling liberal “Uncle Toms”, as they have been called. No mention of Condi Rice, Clarence Thomas, Rodney Paige, Tom Sowell, Walter Williams or Larry Elder, for instance. They don’t speak the language of ebonics either. Funny, however – I have read the same type of argument from the left in regards to Condi and Colin – – except in reverse, that they aren’t “real African Americans”, so it’s ok for them to be in positions of power within a Republican administration.
The argument flows both ways. Will there come a day when a politician, or other public figure, can stand up – be heard in an intelligent, articulate fashion, and just be accepted based on their message, ideas and views? Does it need to be examined so harshly under the race light? Or the gender light?
Not black in the ‘usual way’. Can you imagine if someone said that a person is not white in the “usual way”. Or not female in the “usual way”. Maybe the author of this column just isn’t smart in the usual way.